Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Few Days in Isohe

Right after landing in Torit, Fr. Herald, Will and Jamie made proximate preparations to head straight on to Isohe, a town about two hours away. Fr. Chris, MSP, graciously allowed us to use his vehicle, so we pulled together some supplies and hit the road.

Isohe is one of the most beautiful places in the Diocese of Torit, especially at this time of year when the vegetation is lush from the abundant rains. Isohe sits on a small plateau, nestled in the crevice of the mountains that surround it on three sides. This gives the center of the village where the church is located a stunning backdrop. It's almost impossible to capture the dramatic beauty of the mountains that tower behind the buildings and yet seem almost close enough to reach out and touch.

As we approached Isohe, a heavy rainstorm was just finishing over the town. This produced an amazingly vivid rainbow over the road leading into the village, one that we seemed to pass right under as we got close.

St. Theresa Church, Isohe (above and below).

One of the principal reasons for our visit to Isohe was for Dr. Will to be able to work for a few days with Dr. Brian Madison, a Southern Sudanese doctor Dr. Will met there last fall. We were very pleasantly surprised to learn that another doctor, Jude - from Uganda, had since joined the staff.

Drs. Brian, Jude  and Will making rounds accompanied by a nurse.

One of the wards in Isohe Hospital.
The hospital staff at St. Theresa's is extremely, even heroically dedicated to their work and their patients, at times even donating blood themselves for transfusions when there is no other source. They are in the process of completing a surgical section, mostly for emergency c-section deliveries when normal birth is not possible. Once complete, it will have to be equipped. The hospital lab is able to do very basic clinical analysis, but lacks the equipment to do more sophisticated and complete testing. Dr. Will and I have spoken to the staff about their needs, and we are in the process of trying to figure out how we might help get needed and important equipment to assist and improve the medical care they are able to offer. More on that to come!  

Sister Theresa, hospital administrator, in the children's ward.
While Dr. Will was working with Drs. Brian and Jude, Jamie and I did a little impromptu evangelization in the pavilion where local mothers bring their children to be weighed and evaluated. Underweight and malnourished children receive a nutrition rich dietary supplement to help raise their  body weight. We sang some songs and showed a few Bible videos to the waiting mothers and children.

Each afternoon of our visit we also conducted a time of Eucharistic adoration for the children of the village, which included songs, the Rosary in their local language led by Sr. Paskwina - principal of the local Catholic school - and a blind catechist.

Following the time of prayer in the church, we showed an animated Bible video on a small television in the back of our vehicle, which the children crowded around to watch.

 Trying to be as self sufficient as possible, the Sacred Heart Sisters in Isohe raise chickens, ducks and turkeys.

In true missionary style, our road trip through mud and dust necessitated doing laundry (by hand with water pumped from a well, of course) upon our return to Torit.

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